UPDATE: 8 a.m. EDT — Hurricane Matthew continued to batter the southern coast of South Carolina, with sustained winds going up to the speed of 105 mph.
Downtown Charleston and other parts of the state, including the iconic working plantation of Boone Hall that dates back to 1681, have been flooded as the hurricane’s center is predicted to move over South Carolina.
Homeless people are even more vulnerable to the effects of the hurricane, prompting authorities to provide transport and shelters for them. Reuters reported that authorities in Florida were attempting to reach out to the homeless population to facilitate a move to safer areas.
Officials in Horry County, South Carolina, have put out buses to help the elderly, disabled and the homeless evacuate and get to shelter.
“All week the relief teams have been going out to places where they know homeless people have been camping, and letting them know we have places for people who want to get out of the weather,” said Kathy Jenkins, executive director of the Myrtle Beach non-profit New Directions.
Hurricane Matthew was downgraded Friday to a category 2 storm after it lost some of its power as it moved north. However, the possibility of deadly flooding is still high in a number of states that come in its path.
‘The center of Matthew will move near or over the coast of South Carolina this (Saturday) morning, and be near the coast of southern North Carolina by tonight,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said early Saturday. “Reports ... indicate that maximum sustained winds remain near 105 mph (165 km/h) with higher gusts.”
The warning has been extended to North Carolina as it has been predicted that the storm’s center will move into the states of Georgia and South Carolina Saturday, and North Carolina by Sunday.
“There is nothing safe about what is getting ready to happen,” South Carolina governor Nikki Haley said Friday, according to USA Today. “This is the last time you will hear my voice when I am asking you to evacuate. We need everybody to consider evacuating and take this very seriously.”
Widespread power outage in three states — Florida, Georgia and South Carolina — has left about 1.2 million people without electricity.
At least 4 deaths in Florida have been linked to the hurricane, which is also responsible for over 800 deaths in Haiti.
Hurricane warnings are currently in effect from Fernandina Beach in Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Wilmington, North Carolina, extending till Surf City, North Carolina. Locals are being urged to stay off the streets for their safety.